Oral Cancer Caused by Smoking

Smoking shisha or cigarettes can affect the health of the mouth and throat. As well as the obvious effects, such as stains on the teeth and bad breath, smoking is the major cause of cancers in the mouth, throat, oesophagus, pharynx, larynx or voice box, tongue, lips and salivary glands.

As Doctor Chris Steele says, “mouth cancer is increasing, and as with most cancers, it’s more common in over 50 years old. It’s very important to spot mouth cancer early, primarily because if it’s caught early, we know that the treatments are very successful.”

More than 80% of mouth, nose and throat cancer occur in a people who smoke cigarettes or water pipes.  A total of 2,052 Australians died from mouth and throat cancer in 2003 and there are over 4,000 new cases of these cancers each year.

In fact, one member of The Beatles, George Harrison died because of throat cancer. It was said that George was a very heavy smoker and he smoked almost 3 packs of cigarettes per day but not only that, he also smoked shisha heavily, thus he acquired throat cancer.  Sources said he quit smoking in the early 1980′s but in late 1997, he started smoking again. Another thing to note, all of The Beatles band members’ are exposed to massive amounts of second hand smoke from exposure to bars in enclosed arenas where they perform.

Smoking shisha or cigarette can also lead to periodontal disease or so-called gum disease as well as increased tartar on teeth. This can also cause serious deterioration of soft tissues around the teeth, which can result in pain and tooth loss. Smoking can also delay the healing of injured tissues in the mouth, such as mouth ulcers.

In another part of the world, people in Saudi Arabia, where hookah smoking is widespread, were studied by Suzan Natto and her colleagues from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. From a total of 262 adults studied, there consist 31% of people who smoked water pipes exclusively, while 19 % smoked only cigarettes; another 20% used both smoking cigarette and shisha smoking and the rest were non-smokers.

They found out that about 20% of the participants had signs of gum disease, which is marked by inflammation and redness of the gums in its earlier stages which progressed to the destruction of bones and soft tissues supporting the teeth leading to possible teeth loss.

While only 8% of non-smokers had gum disease, 30% of water-pipe smokers and 24% of cigarette smokers were affected.

With all these facts all over the world, quitting from smoking immediately would significantly reduce your risk of oral cancer and greatly improve your dental health now.

Image by Flickr